Funny how days can turn out when they start somewhat awkward!
I threw overboard my plans to go to Kyoto when my train stopped in Amagasaki and just wouldn't move any further. Neither did any of the other trains. Only later did I find out that there had been a heavy earthquake in the North of Japan. and looking back, I think I even noticed it, only that I thought that people were stepping onto the train rather violently...
So here I am, for two hours stuck in Amagasaki, where I spend every day of the week anyways... But at least I found out that there is a movie theatre in the area! Although it's probably a lot easier to just go to Osaka or Kobe. Which I then did :o)
There'd be loads of things to tell that happened in between, from crowded malls, more and more shopping horrors (it seems that shopping in Osaka really isn't my thing...), from losing the orientation yet again, from toilets that have a loudspeaker system installed that will play the sound of flowing water (I guess to keep people from flushing just to be able to pee.........), from All-in-One wash basins that have one sensor for shooting out foam, one for water, and another one for blow-drying your hands! I could tell from in-door shopping arcades in Shinsaibashi and Namba (both parts of Osaka) that, in spite of having a roof, seem to let the rain inside because of the high ventilation they have there (da hat so ein Durchzug geherrscht, dass man auch gute 20 Meter vom Eingang entfernt noch gut Regen mitbekommen hat!). Or I could tell from eating in a small shop where you pay an automat to give you a ticket, where everything seems automated, but where, with a single word and a smile, you can make the lady there very happy :o)
But I won't tell you any of that because there are way more important things to tell - for example how to go to the movies in Japan!
First, you take the highspeed elevator that takes you non-stop to the 8th floor. You enter the newly-built complex, smell the air of something familiar that is not popcorn - and find out that it's churros!! (For those who haven't been to Spain, churros are longish dough-sausages that are usually dipped into chocolate or sprinkled with sugar - as can be seen here:)
After passing the theatre's souvenir shop, you focus on the wild mix of people, mostly small tiny women in high heels with very pearly clothes, the rest of the younger generation usually made up of guys with hats or wildly styled hair, and cowboy boots. A nice example for being different crossed my way, a young woman in sneakers, rocky clothes, wild hair, and churros and a beer. She was making a point of being cool. I had to smile a tiny bit when she was entering the same cinema as I was, showing Harry Potter IV :o)
Before starting the movie, a comic came on to teach the visitors how to use the movie theatre - emergency exits to your left and your right, toilets outside and straight ahead, movie night on Tuesdays (hilariously, movie nights (= cheaper tickets) are only cheaper for women! Men only have one night a month where they can see a cheaper movie - that's what I call modern discrimination ;o)). So far, the whole thing seemed to be like boarding a flight, I was actually waiting for flight attendants to come on stage... Then it got even more bizarre when a comic character appeared on screen that looked a lot like Bruno Ganz in "Der Untergang" (portraying Hitler), and telling another visitor the usual stuff like "no filming, no shouting, no phones", but curiously they made a strong point of "no kicking" as well... Would be interesting to see what regular Japanese people behave like in a movie theatre...
This is Bruno Ganz, by the way:
And finally, the MOVIE!! That was exactly what I needed, a great movie, at the perfect distance from the screen, with just the right level of volume and all the emotional range a good movie needs :o) Wonderful! Even better that during one of the action scenes with dramatic wand-whirling and bass-thundering the whole cinema (remember, we are on 8th floor!) started shaking - because of a second earthquake :o) I think, today I was more than compensated for the rather flaky typhoon *grin*
To end another wonderful day, Simon called and invited me to go to sing karaoke!!! REAL karaoke!! Just the two of us, in a small room (2x2meters at best), with two microphones, a giant song book and unlimited volume to crank it up :o) The two of us had a very hard time speaking on leaving the bar - after screaming at the top of our lungs to "Un-break my heart", "The heart will go on", "Rock me Amadeus", "I need a Hero" :o) Loads and loads and LOADS of fun, I tell ya!
If I can get this video to work, take a look :o)
VIDEO (coming soon, I hope...)
So absolutely no reason to complain about having missed the festival in Kyoto - I doubt that it could have been more fun than this!